OSS compatibility rules

What is life without incompatible realities?”
Ursula K. Le Guin

One of the nifty features of many inventory management solutions is their compatibility rules. They’re effectively the equivalent of ensuring a designer doesn’t put a square peg in a round hole.

A sample use-case is when trying to build a 1 Gigabit (1Gb) Ethernet circuit, you can’t plug either end of the cable into Fast Ethernet (100Mb) port within the inventory management circuit design tools.

Some OSS even filter the pick-lists to ensure that you only see compatible objects (ie you only see the available 1Gb ports) on the equipment or card you’re trying to connect to when building a 1Gb circuit. This reduces the risk of design errors.

Just one word of warning. Ensure you run a proof of concept on this functionality using your own contextually accurate data (eg naming conventions, equipment types, port types, circuit types, etc). In some cases the effort in setting up and maintaining the compatibility rules outweighs the benefits. Afterall, your designers will normally be so familiar with the attributes of your network that they’ll rarely make these types of design mistakes (I hope).

If the effort required to maintain the compatibility rules is significant or if they preclude you from building valid circuits (eg throttled or rate-limited circuits being mis-matched against line speeds), then you won’t get the benefits that this functionality would initially seem to offer.

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